The latest instalment of our pre-season preview focuses on Hull City
WATFORD AREN’T the only side with ambitious owners and a high-profile new boss, Hull City, now under the stewardship of Steve Bruce, are very much looking up rather than down.
Under the ownership of the Allam family, the Tigers have seen three managers come and go already. After Nigel Pearson left to return to Leicester City, Nick Barmby was put in charge, as first on a temporary basis, before taking the job full-time. However, comments made at the end of the season cost the Tigers’ boss his job & in came former Sunderland supremo, Steve Bruce.
Barmby was sacked for appealing to the club’s owners for greater funds through the media, something which doesn’t seem to stack up with the appointment of Bruce, who would surely only have accepted the job on the assurance of significant funds to improve his playing staff.
Strengths: The owners mean business.
The appointment of Bruce was one thing, but the Allam family have backed their man in the transfer market from day one. Six new faces have been added thus far and you wouldn’t bet against more arrivals in the near future. One of those new faces, Nick Proschwitz, cost over £2.5m, so money is quite clearly available.
Much like at Vicarage Road, an air of expectation lingers. Whether or not Bruce and his charges can deliver remains to be seen, but in an ultra-competitive league and with a raft of changes to the playing staff, it would be some achievement for the Humberside outfit to return to the Premier League this season.
Best business so far: Former Rangers winger, Sone Aluko, has arrived on a free transfer.
Aluko, 23, worked with Bruce at former club Birmingham City before joining Aberdeen and latterly, the Gers.
Twelve goals in just 21 appearances for the Ibrox club has proven the flying winger-cum-forward to be a huge goal threat.
Star man: Playmaker and captain, Robert Koren.
The former West Brom central midfielder, 31, has made over 80 appearances for the Tigers since signing on a free transfer two years ago. A full Slovenian international with 61 senior caps, Koren has an eye for the spectacular, and sunk Watford last season with a 94th minute winner.
In: Eldin Jakupovic (Aris) undisc, Nick Proschwitz (SC Paderborn) £2.6m, Abdoulaye Faye, Sonke Aluko, Alex Bruce (all free transfers) & Ben Amos (Manchester United) loan.
Out: Sonny Bradley (Aldershot Town) loan.
wfc123: For the money Bruce has been backed with, the top six should be the target. Eighth last season on a shoe-string, Barmby will be amused if Bruce cannot deliver the top six.
chrisgwfc:Came close to the Play-Off’s last season and I doubt Steve Bruce would have taken the job without getting the funds to make the final step. £2.6m of that went on striker Proschwitz which seems like a gamble. Getting Aluko from Rangers though is a really exciting signing for them. In or around Play-Off’s.